Read this in The Manila Times digital edition.

MANILA Electric Co. (Meralco) posted a net income of P9.949 billion in the first six months of 2021, a 45-percent surge from P6.844 billion in the same period a year ago.

In a virtual briefing held Monday, Meralco Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Betty Siy-Yap said the power distributor recorded a higher net income amid the impairment of its equity investment in PacificLight Power Pte Ltd. in the first quarter of 2020.

Consolidated revenues stood at P149.097 billion, up by 8 percent from P138.347 billion year-over-year.

Consolidated distribution revenues, accounting for 22 percent of total electricity revenues, increased by 7 percent to P31.486 billion from P29.458 billion. According to Siy-Yap, this reflected the increase in volume.

During the period, consolidated energy sales during the period rose by 7 percent to 22,663 gigawatt hours (GWh) from 21,139 GWh.

Energy sales in the residential sector hit 8,370 GWh, with Meralco Meralco First Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer Ferdinand Geluz attributing it to the "continuing trend" of work-from-home and online distance learning arrangements.

Geluz also said the industrial segment is "now back to pre-pandemic level, better than even our 2019 numbers" after posting energy sales of 7,440 GWh while commercial sector reached 6,781 GWh.

"The growing public confidence with the gradual increase in the number of people vaccinated and first full month of GCQ (general community quarantine) in June 2021 resulted in the uptick in business activities and foot traffic to malls, restaurants, hotels and other retail outlets. Food and beverage commissaries also resumed operations," said Meralco in a statement.

"The second quarter of 2021 also saw increasing onsite work activities, which contributed to the rise in commercial sales volumes," it added.

Consolidated core net income was 8 percent higher at P11.399 billion from P10.588 billion.

Reported earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization or Ebitda doubled to P22.839 billion from P11.395 billion.

Meanwhile, customer count grew by 4 percent to 7.274 million as Meralco and Clark Electric Distribution Corp. catch up on energization of new customers.

Meralco Chairman Manuel Pangilinan said he is quite optimistic that 2021 profits "will be ahead of last year," barring unforeseen circumstances.

"We have not given any guidance for the full year because we're quite concerned about the recent spread of this Delta virus which could lead to further lockdowns," Pangilinan told reporters.

"That's a factor we cannot foresee what the impact will be on sales moving forward," he added.

Meralco shares decreased by P2 or 0.74 percent to end at P267 apiece on Monday.